A TERMINALLY ill cancer patient is following his beloved Chesterfield FC to Wembley, thanks to a life-extending drug not widely available on the NHS.
Rick Betton, 57, who was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2010, said he is able to enjoy life thanks to the £3,500-a-month treatment, abiraterone – that he gets through his employers private health care plan.
But Rick, who will be cheering the Spireites on in the JP Trophy final with son, Ryan, 28, wants the NHS to reconsider its provision of the drug.
“It prolongs your life” he said. “I have been on it since November and it helps me get out and about. I had two lots of chemotherapy before and both worked for a while, but this was my last stop. With this new drug my life is open ended. It’s the price of life.”
He added: “Before I lost all my hair and was too tired to go out really. Now I can go out, I just went to visit my daughter in Bath. It’s enabling me to go to Wembley.”
Rick will make the trip down to London on March 25 from the home he shares with his wife, Rachel in North Wingfield.
He said: “I was six when I saw them play for the first time and I still go each week. I decided to get a season ticket in the new ground and I have kept it going.
“We all went to the game in 1997 when we were robbed. Then we got hammered in the replay.”
Ryan – one of Rick and Rachel’s four children – added: “My first ever game was at Wembley with my dad, against Cambridge and we lost. We are going back to where it all started, hopefully we will have better luck.”
Rachel, who will be at home on match day, said: “It’s hard to put in words but the drug is a life line and it has given us hope. It makes him be himself because that is who he has always been. He has always been a football fan and now he can still be that.”
A spokesperson for NHS Derbyshire County, said: “Abiraterone is funded by the Cancer Drugs Fund for patients who meet the criteria. Individual funding requests can also be made to NHS Derbyshire County under its Individual Funding Request policy.”
l What do you think of the drug policy? Email firstname.lastname@example.org